21 Oct 2016
In the wake of an incredibly tense social atmosphere, Loyola High School instituted the Office of Equity and Inclusion earlier this month. While the social direction of the country appears to be heading one way, Loyola is trying to head the other way. The establishment of the Office of Equity and Inclusion will help combat the division in our society, promote understanding among students and assist students who encounter social issues in their daily lives.
The importance of a program of this nature cannot be overstated. First, just from the title alone, the Office of Equity and Inclusion indicates Loyola’s devotion to social justice.
The issues the office will handle are extensive and impactful to the entire community. Everything from racism, to sexism, to learning differences, to bullying and harassment will fall under the office’s domain.
Loyola is a large and diverse community, and with its great size, some students can feel left out because of their beliefs, race, orientation or personality. The office seeks to make every Loyola student feel worthy of being at Loyola for who they are. Whether it be ensuring that class curriculum encompasses students of all learning types, educating the community about social issues or handling cases of possible discrimination, the Office of Integrity and Inclusion is available for students of all kinds. No, the office is not another “politically-correct safe space” as some might think it is, for in reality, it is there to monitor and help social acceptance at Loyola.
Should there be instances of racism in the classroom or bullying on the schoolyard, the office will step in to restore equity and inclusion and prevent similar occurrences. Even beyond the social issues that plague our culture, there are numerous other applications for the office. Should a student feel that a teacher is not respecting his opinion and that his grade is suffering as a result, he will have recourse with the office. The office looks to help all. Faculty members who may want a greater voice on issues will benefit from the office.
But these goals will be difficult to achieve without having a metric to measure the social pulse of Loyola. For this reason, the Office of Integrity and Inclusion, under the direction of Jamal Adams ‘90, employed a comprehensive survey of the student body, the faculty and administration and alumni of the past five years to attain an understanding of Loyola’s social climate.
This survey indicates that the office wasn’t created just to make everyone feel good about themselves; rather, the office is going to tackle real issues at Loyola and make the school better for all students.
Loyola is an institution that prides itself on a devotion to social justice and environment of brotherhood. While both these qualities are genuine parts of Loyola, the Office of Integrity and Inclusion constitutes a signal of Loyola’s neverending desire for improvement.